By Mallory Rabold
Close your eyes for me and imagine you are sitting in your room; you are getting ready to hit the mall with your friends. You put on your off the shoulder sweater and acid wash jeans. There is the scent of your hairspray still lingering in the air as you apply your bright make up. MTV is on in the background playing Michael Jackson and Madonna music videos. While I know it’s hard to believe but there is more to the 80’s than their clothing. The people of the 80’s were status seekers whose motto was “If you got it flaunt it”. Businesses grew to new sizes and mergers of companies created billionaires. Double- digit inflation was in effect, and unemployment was on the rise. Ronald Regan declared a war on drugs, and we lost many talented people to the AIDs epidemic. (1980-1989)
When people think of movies from the 80’s they think of one name, John Hughes. With hits like Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Hughes captured and put his own stamp on teenagers of the 80’s. Through his writing and producing he was able to catch the combination of romance and indifference, conformity and rebellion that marked the first American generation to grow up in a consumer culture. Other movies that influenced the 80’s were Flashdance, Fame, and Staying Alive, which created a dance craze. So much so that leotards, leggings, legwarmers, and headbands were regularly worn as street wear.
MTV network premiered in 1981 and radically changed the music industry. Robert Pitman felt that 80’s teens were ignored as radio stations refused to give airtime to New Wave, Punk, and Heavy Metal artists. Music became important in movies as well as in TV shows. In the popular 80’s series, Miami Vice, the soundtrack became a best seller. Many people claimed the show sacrificed plot for visual impact. Director Lee Katkin didn’t deny it. “The show is written for an MTV audience,” he told Time, “which is more interested in images, emotions and energy than plot and character.” Music was also revived by the booming aerobic dance craze. The CEO of Jazzercise in 1982 says that coupling the music with the movement makes working out fun. If only it were that easy.
With the first woman on the Supreme Court and woman in space, the tone for women in the 80’s was that they could do anything. This gave way to power dressing, which involved shoulder pads and structured and tailored clothing. Shows like Dynasty and Dallas influenced the fashion of the time. These soap opera dramas featured glamorous and opulent clothing and accessories. Styles from these shows filtered down into mainstream fashion and resulted in costume jewelry worn both day and night and sequins and beading were put on clothing to symbolize wealth. The fashions of this time went a long with the dominating attitude of the time, conspicuous opulence. Which is why the 80’s has been dubbed the decade of greed.
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